Monday, October 31, 2005

my Victor Hugo, part 1

I suppose I could have waited till fev 26, M. Hugo's 204th birthday, to announce my design contest. But that's too darn long. Some of you already know I named this humble web log after Victor Hugo(1802-1885). Monsieur Hugo has been the titular saint, or avatar if you prefer, of my wee blog since January of 2003, since even before I knew how to post his or any other picture.

My original blog, simply and unimaginatively entitled "Versen," ran from April 2002 till mid-January of 2003, when I switched over to a pseudonym.

Originally I tried "hugonaut", as in after M. Hugo, but also a pun on argonaut and huguenot. But then I noticed this site and decided that wouldn't be cool. So my 2nd site passed through the blogging night, as it were, what with me posting less than a hundred words then abandoning it. It's a poor little defenseless blog, all alone in the cold world, and I don't even know how to bury it since I forgot my user name and password. Do you need my permission to hack it and take it over, planting the jolly roger in the midst of the template and sailing forth into hitherto uncharted blogging waters, making neocons and neoliberals alike walk the plank, showing mercy to none? How would I know-- I'm not a lawyer! But if U R man or woman enough, have at it. Just don't pretend you're me, lest we have to rumble. It's the code of the sea.

So: It's a peculiar story, that I blogged under my own name, switched to anonymous blogging, then back again. Hardly anybody noticed Versen in 2002 and I had maybe 500-600 hits in 9 months. Two people who did notice, Avedon Carol and Bill Scher, left me pleasantly shocked. I saw Avedon mention me in passing in early 2003, and then Bill blogrolled me at Liberal Oasis, one of the first, if not the very first to do so.

So: whether they like it or not, Avedon and big Bill are my cyberspace godparents. If they don't want to admit it, that's cool. (Periodically, Avedon has scolded me in private emails for saying all sorts of crazy shit, er, intemperate stuff at HZ but never done so in the public square of her blog, which is pretty classy. )

Sometimes those are sustaining experiences-- the mysterious folks at Cursor also linked to me around this time too. I had just discovered that there even was a lefty blogosphere in late 2001, thanks to Andrew Sullivan of all people, and I only knew about his blog because I subscribed to The New Republic in those knavish days, when I still thought they were righteous liberals. (2002 was also the year that I stopped subscribing to TNR after some 12 and a half years, because as much as I appreciated Stanley Kauffmann, the one-dimensional self-righteousness of their drumbeat for the Iraq war repulsed me in a way that their Israeli boosterism never did.

Anyway: then I decided to retool and start anew on 21 Jan 2003, the birth of Hugo Zoom . A mythic beginning? Not at all-- certainly not in the eyes of normal people. And believe me, I tried to be normal for I don't know how many years.

But I'm not particularly good at it. Once, before I came back out in the light of it's-really-me blogging on 1 August 2005, I left a comment at a certain lefty blogger's site that she better remove her link to chinchilla wrestler Hugo Schwyzer, as it was obvious that he had a made up name, unlike me, and I warned her that the blogosphere wasn't big enough for the two of us. To this day I have no idea if she thought that was amusing or merely aberrant. She was nice enough to leave my crazy-ass comment up.(No, it wasn't Avedon-- I wont tell you who.) I guess I could ask, right?

I'm all tuckered out. More tomorrow.

Hugo illustration via pvda, and
Hugo photo via atheisme